Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

Approaches to motor learning: Cognitive approach versus ecological dinamyc one

Gaetano Raiola, Felice Di Domenico



The aim is to deepen the knowledge on the scientific evidence between the biomedical and pedagogical part and on the differences of the two approaches commonly used for teaching / learning processes: the cognitive and ecological-dynamic approach on one's own characteristics and specific paradigms. The retrieval of scientific literature took place through the use of specialized web research on: PubMed, Google Scholar, Scopus, PMCfreearticle, CrossRef by PRISMA method. Motor learning is the stabilized execution of a given movement, executive technique, or gesture. It means that in the face of a number of repetitions most are performed correctly. Cognitive approach places the person at the centre of the teaching / learning process, neglecting the inferences that the surrounding environment produces. Ecological-dynamic approach, which considers motor coordination as an organization emerging from the peripheral constraints of the system rather than from central control structures, is defined as ecological, since it does not consider the aspects of motor coordination within the individual but, more generally, the complex interaction between the individual and the environment and the circular relationship between perception and action. The characteristics and paradigms of two approaches highlight two opposite ways to motor learning with an unsolved problem on which one is correct to use in physical education and sports performance.


Prescriptive teaching; Heuristic learning; Didactics exercise; Educational praxis; Affordances


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